I’m long time lurker here on TONMO, and keeping a pet octopus has been a seemingly unattainable dream of mine for as long as I care to remember. My lack of a cephalofriend boils down to three factors that lead me to doubt my credentials as an octopus owner. So here's the thing; I have been reading the articles and forums here on TONMO and elsewhere for a solid couple years now, and I feel like I have a good understanding of what it takes to keep an octopus happy and healthy, and regulate water quality in a marine aquarium, but that is inevitably trumped by the fact that I’ve never actually kept a marine aquarium myself . I’ve done FW before with success, but I’m well aware that SW has its own ins and outs. Despite knowing the nitrogen cycle through and through, and having read countless accounts and silently, mentally troubleshooting many that have posted problems in their own tanks, I still fear that all research and knowledge will fail me in the field. this is basically what makes me fear that acquiring an octopus would be irresponsible and cruel to the brilliant little critter. Funds and availability. I’m fairly confident that an octopus is fairly inexpensive. Obviously it depends on “when”s and “how”s because it seems that many of you have acquired your pets through unique personal circumstances, but in any case I know that bimacs run around $50 on marinedepotlive.com and so I am not too concerned in that department. However, I’ve done the budgeting and I know setting up an aquarium will be very costly. It seems difficult to reach escape velocity below, say $600 and come out with a respectable setup (having no inside contacts or engineering skill-sets, as many of you do). I’ll need to get everything from aquarium and stand, to lighting, to skimming and filtration, to LR and LS, to a reliable supplier of live food on a regular basis. The thought of establishing a website, helpmebuyanoctopus.com has occurred to me, and otherwise working to acquire the funds through various means. In the grand scheme of things it is affordable in my situation with a little elbow grease. But besides that, I haven’t seen octopuses for sale anywhere lately, though I’ll be living next year near Boston, so I imagine there will be something out there somewhere. This brings me to the next issue I’m a college student and thus far haven’t been staying in the same place for more than 10 months at a time. My home is in Chicago, but I study out in Mass. That has always posed a stopgate when considering a large aquarium setup, but at this point I am willing to put together what I can and get it back and forth by one means or another. The short life cycle of many octopuses does do well to alleviate my fear of irresponsibly acquiring a pet that I will have to drive across the country at some point and reacclimate in a new setting. So clearly the biggest issue is my noob status when it comes to marine aquarium keeping. I understand that an octopus can only be added to an established system of several months or more. Perhaps this cycling time would give me the much needed experience required to be a responsible keeper. Perhaps not. Besides that I believe I could work out the budget and make sure to give it a good home for the lifespan of a well selected individual octopus (one that is already mature, or of a shorter-lived species). Although I am hoping that the experts here on the TONMO board will offer me encouragement to shoot for my dream, and assure me that it’s a plausible scenario for this year, I know that you will likely advise me to do the prudent thing and start with some hardy fish. Okay, I’m ready to accept that. Do your worst, but know that you’re forcing me to hold off for another few years on this excellent name I’ve come up with: “Octopus Prime.” Unless my instinct to play it slow and safe is misguided (having read all the advice in these articles and forums, I doubt it is) please give me some advice as to how to ready myself for the privilege of octopus keeping. What progression of starter fish or inverts do you recommend? Obviously since I’ve been reading here, I have a preference for the extra-ordinary. And I’m very open to suggestions. Oh god I want a ceph pet so damn much it’s excruciating . But for now it looks like I will continue to read and dream. Oh and my name is Mike. It’s nice to meet all of you. Thanks for being out there.